If the practice of war is as old as human history, so too is the need to reflect upon war, to understand its meaning and implications. The Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus asserted in 600BC that War ( polemos) is justice, thus inaugurating a long philosophical tradition of consideration of the morality of war. In recent times, the increased specialisation of academic disciplines has led a to a fragmentation of the thematic of war within the academy – the topic of war is as likely to be addressed by sociologists, cultural theorists, psychologists and even computer scientists as it is by historians, philosophers or political scientists. This diversity of disciplinary approaches to war is undoubtedly fruitful in itself but can lead to an isolation of respective disciplinary analyses of war from each other.
In July 2002, at Mansfield College, Oxford, an inter-disciplinary conference on war (entitled ‘War and Virtual War’) was held so as to redress some of this disciplinary isolationism and to forge an integrative dialogue on war, in all its facets. The papers in this volume were nominated by delegates as the most paradigmatic of the ethos of the original project and the most successful in achieving its aims of inter-disciplinarity and critical dialogue.
Copyright Year: 2004